This lecture will consider the shape of Buddhist Studies globally and in America from three perspectives: the study of Buddhism as an empirical, objective, critical, scientific field of inquiry grounded in the texts, languages, and traditions of a particular historical field of study; Buddhist Studies as an examination of texts and traditions by adherents or scholars who approach the study of Buddhism primarily from the perspective of its normative truth claims; Buddhist Studies as a dynamic, methodologically diverse, context-sensitive field that includes normative, descriptive, analytical, and comparative approaches to a broad range of subjects including texts and rituals with increasing attention to the non-elite lived/living tradition.

Lecture Details

Date: March 8, 2012 (Thu)
Time: 3:00-4:30pm
Place: AD208
Title: Wisdom and Compassion: Reflections on the Academic Study of Religion

About the Lecturer

Donald Swearer

Currently Dr. Donald Swearer is the Charles & Harriet Cox McDowell Emeritus Professor of Religion, Swarthmore College, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR), Harvard Divinity School (HDS). From 2004 to2010, he served as CSWR director and distinguished professor of Buddhism at HDS. Although he has taught widely in the field of Asian and comparative religions, his research has focused on Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. His recent monographs in that field include: The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia, 2nd rev. ed., 2010; Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand, 2004; The Sacred Mountains of Northern Thailand and Their Legends, 2004; and The Legend of Queen Cama. Bodhiramsi’s Camadevivamsa, a Translation and Commentary, 1998.

All are welcome!
No fee is required for attendance.


The Institute of Chinese Buddhist Studies, University of the West